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Verizon: ‘People don’t need unlimited plans’

Verizon CFO Fran Shammo spoke at an investor conference Thursday where he said that not providing unlimited plans is "more customer-friendly."

Published onSeptember 22, 2016

Verizon CFO Fran Shammo

While T-Mobile has made some astonishing leaps in the last few years by employing an innovative new strategy that could be summed up as ‘giving the people what they want,’ Verizon has decided to continue with their tried and true strategy of ‘Big Red knows best.’

At an investor conference Thursday, Verizon CFO Fran Shammo announced that he essentially knew what customers wanted better than they know themselves. “At the end of the day, people don’t need unlimited plans,” he said.

Shammo said that the beauty of Verizon’s plans, in contrast to their competitors, is that they are simple, easy to understand, and put full control in the hands of the users. Although there are data caps, you get high speed data tethering and no throttled video streaming. “We believe it’s more customer-friendly,” said Shammo.

T-Mobile claims Verizon has lost its coverage advantage

The context of this position is that essentially all of Verizon’s competitors now offer unlimited plans in some form or another. Sprint and T-Mobile have rolled out fully unlimited data plans (with caveats) and AT&T has an unlimited data bundle that also gets you DirecTV. It appears that investors were keen to know if Verizon would be adapting to this changing mobile landscape.

Later in the conference, Shammo was a little more transparent about their motivations regarding unlimited data plans. It isn’t so much about what the customer needs, it’s that – quote – “You cannot make money on an unlimited video world.”

We believe it’s more customer-friendly.

Shammo also expressed disdain at the types of users who tend to be attracted to those sorts of plans, saying that they “tend to be abusive,” using tons of data and impacting the experience of those in their vicinity.

What’s really on display here is that Verizon simply has such a lead on its competitors in terms of network strength and userbase, that it doesn’t necessarily need to cater to its users preferences. So long as they hold such a dominant position, they’re free to play the game however is most beneficial to them. However, they aren’t completely blind to the fact that many subscribers are starting to cast longing glances in the direction of AT&T and T-Mobile, and they assured investors thus: “We look at our competitors closely. We will respond when needed.”

If you read between the lines there, what they appear to be saying is, ‘We may eventually roll out unlimited plans, but only when we absolutely have to.’

What do you think of this announcement? Are we being too harsh on Verizon for evidently placing the interest of their shareholders over the interest of their subscribers? Let us know your take in the comments below!

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